In this section you will find:
What is the National Federation of the Blind?
"The real problem of blindness is not the loss of eyesight. The real problem is
the misunderstanding and lack of information which exist. If a blind person has
proper training and opportunity, blindness is only a physical nuisance."
The National Federation of the Blind is the largest organization of the blind in
America. Interested sighted persons also join. Founded in 1940, the Federation
has grown to include over 50,000 members.
It is estimated that over one million persons in the
U.S. are blind and each year 50,000 more will become blind. Studies show that
only AIDS and cancer are feared more than blindness. However, blindness need not
be the tragedy which it is generally thought to be.
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) is a consumer organization of blind people
working together to
improve opportunities for the blind and the understanding of blindness by the
general public. The NFB has affiliates in all fifty states, in the District of
Columbia, and in Puerto Rico, and over seven hundred local chapters in most
major cities. There are currently more than fifty thousand members nationwide.
The purpose of the National Federation of the Blind is to act as a vehicle for
collective self-expression by the blind. Since its beginning in 1940, the NFB
has been working toward the ultimate goal of helping blind persons achieve
self-confidence and self-respect, and the complete integration of the blind into
society on a basis of equality. The National Federation of the Blind is doing
this by providing public education about blindness, information and referral
services, scholarships, literature and publications about blindness, aids and
appliances and other adaptive equipment for the blind, advocacy services and
protection of civil rights, employment assistance and support services,
development and evaluation of technology, and support for blind persons and
Live The Life You Want
The National Federation of the Blind knows that blindness is not the characteristic that defines you or your future. Every day we raise the expectations of blind people, because low expectations create obstacles between blind people and our dreams. You can live the life you want; blindness is not what holds you back.
The newly-blind person faces some difficult challenges. One of the best ways to meet these challenges is to meet other blind people and learn about the techniques they use. Membership in the NFB provides this common meeting ground and a sense of participation and restoration of confidence. Through speeches, pamphlets, and radio and TV appearances, members of the NFB work to educate the public that the blind are normal individuals who can compete on terms of equality.
A Distinctive Role
The Federation corresponds to blind people
in the same way that labor unions correspond to workers, the Chamber of Commerce
to business people, the American Bar Association to lawyers, the NAACP to
blacks, the American Medical Association to doctors, and the Farm Bureau to
farmers. It is a vehicle for joint action by the blind. In other words, the
National Federation of the Blind is the voice of the blind. It is the blind
speaking for themselves.
Who Represents the Blind?
There are numerous
governmental agencies and private charitable organizations and foundations
providing services for blind people, but only the blind themselves (acting
through their own organization, the National Federation of the Blind) are able
to speak for the blind. This is a basic concept of democracy. The government has
a Department of Labor, but it cannot truly speak for workers. They speak for
themselves. Likewise the Department of Agriculture does not replace farm
organizations, nor do governmental agencies or private foundations take the
place of democratic membership organizations of minority groups. This is true
even if the agency or foundation is headed or largely staffed by members of the
minority. As with others, so with the blind. More and more of the governmental
agencies and private foundations are becoming responsive to the views and needs
of the blind and are learning new concepts and attitudes about blindness. The
future looks bright. There is an overwhelming feeling of goodwill and a wish to
help on the part of the general public. Most important of all, the blind are
moving forward to speak for themselves and take a hand in the management of
their own affairs through their organization, the National Federation of the
You Can Help
The most important thing you can do is help us spread the
new concepts about blindness. When you see our literature in the mail or meet
one of us on the street, remember that we are people, just like you-with all the
range of talents and capacities, wits and wants that you possess. You can also
help by making cash contributions to our organization or remembering the
National Federation of the Blind of New Mexico in your will. The National Federation of the
Blind of New Mexico is principally supported by public contributions. Donations are
NFB of New Mexico Officers and Board Members
Adelmo Vigil, President
Caroline Benavidez, First Vice President
Tara Chavez, Second Vice President
Tonia Trapp, Secretary
Curtis Chong, Treasurer
Board of Directors
The Courtesy Rules of Blindness
When you meet me don't be ill at ease. It will
help both of us if you remember these simple points of courtesy:
- I'm an ordinary
person, just blind. You don't need to raise your voice or address me as if I
were a child. Don't ask my spouse what I want-"Cream in the coffee?"-ask me.
may use a long white cane or a guide dog to walk independently; or I may ask to
take your arm. Let me decide, and please don't grab my arm; let me take yours.
I'll keep a half-step behind to anticipate curbs and steps.
- I want to know who's
in the room with me. Speak when you enter. Introduce me to the others. Include
childen, and tell me if there's a cat or dog. The door to a room or cabinet or
to a car left partially open is a hazard to me.
- At dinner I will not have
trouble with ordinary table skills.
- Don't avoid words like "see." I use them,
too. I'm always glad to see you.
- I don't want pity. But don't talk about the
"wonderful compensations" of blindness. My sense of smell, touch, or hearing did
not improve when I became blind. I rely on them more and, therefore, may get
more information through those senses than you do-that's all.
- If I'm your
houseguest, show me the bathroom, closet, dresser, window-the light switch, too.
I like to know whether the lights are on.
- I'll discuss blindness with you if
you're curious, but it's an old story to me. I have as many other interests as
- Don't think of me as just a blind person. I'm just a person who happens
to be blind.
- In all 50 states, the law requires drivers to yield the right of
way when they see my extended white cane. Only the blind may carry white canes.
You see more blind persons today walking alone, not because there are more of
us, but because we have learned to make our own way.